Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Just Stuff

I spent most of today sorting through the bags of contaminated clothing and sundry bits with the gals from RestorX. The city adjusters were not thrilled with how 1-800-Water Damage had left things when they said they were done. So now RestorX is out here, bagging up stuff that can be cleaned, carting away contaminated stuff that can't be saved, and cataloguing absolutely everything (something that fell completely to me with the former company, although I'm still monitoring stuff with RestorX).

Among the things that were logged and thrown in bags to go to the dump: my wool Baja sweater from my trip to Mexico with Randy in 1989; a woven wool blanket from the same trip; a couple of Sam's favorite sweaters that now no one can use; a chronicle of my teens and twenties in the form of all my concert T-shirts (Marillion, Berlin, Missing Persons, Love & Rockets (x2), Stranglers, Howard Jones, The Cure, David Bowie, Concrete Blonde, The Rise, Autumn Cathedral, Xymox, Lollapalooza 1 & 2 - most of which I saw with Sam) and cast shirts from South Pacific, Inherit the Wind and Fiddler on the Roof. In fact, all of our Deep7 corporate logo shirts were tossed, as was all my Zingo logo gear. More original art, play posters from high school and college (all irreplaceable), art prints (including a few old Frazzettas). My collection of high school and college newspapers featuring my Zingo comic strip. Souvenirs from our honeymoon in the UK. Stuffed animals from my childhood. Pajamas and robes from Sam's last months. A box of college correspondence and love letters we sent to each other over the 20 years we spent together, and a bunch of photos they will try to save with a paper-safe chemical process.

And then, in the midst of everything, laying in some muck on the carport floor, a plastic hospital bracelet, the last accessory Sam ever wore.


I 952999 (SSN)
DOWNING, SAMANTHA K
DR. BEARD, J MARK
02/11/67 27 F FC/ D
MRN- 494201 TITLE:


To Swedish Hospital Providence Campus personnel, that was Sam. Not the creative dynamo, the restless spirit, the mom, the wife, the muse. Not the theater maven. Not the better half of the four-legged spazzmatron known as ToddSam. Just another poor young woman afflicted with a rare cancer that was eating her liver alive. Of course, I know better - know her better. I know who and what she was, and keep that alive in some small way every day. And as I watched all of that history get bagged up for the landfill, it occurred to me that although it symbolized the history, it is not actual history. I still have the memories.

It's just stuff.

Nothing changes the life I had with Sam. It's done. It was challenging and wonderful and adventurous and loving, each in its own part, and at the end of the day what matters is that I'd live it all over again if I could, even knowing what awaits. Watching that stuff get carted away left me with a whole other emotion: relief.

In a way, I'm really glad that stuff isn't around anymore. For what it's worth, I can approximate a fresh start without a lot of anchors to the past. For a long time, I took pride in my past, and I felt it anchored me (in a positive way) to my youth. Although I feel pretty severed from that youth now, there's a freedom in it. And a curiosity as to what comes next.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hear your love of Sam and keen for your loss...It takes many tears to insure that your loved ones cross over safely. I have no doubt that Sam was born on a crest of a wave over to the far shore.

Thank you for sharing from your heart and I hope you don't mind if I browse around your site to hear more about you.

I found your blog while searching for fellow David Whyte lovers.

Julie in Virginia

tbone said...

Beautifully said, Julie. Thank you for your kind words and support.

David Whyte is an amazing wordsmith, and his live performance was transformational for me. Please feel free to poke around.